Loneliness in the Elderly – How To Identify and Combat It

According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go over a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.

This is a really shocking statistic, and furthermore, a meta-analysis of 10 studies observing healthy adults aged 50+ years revealed that prolonged loneliness and social isolation were associated with a 49–60% higher risk of developing dementia than individuals who do not experience loneliness or social isolation*

Think – when did you last pick up the phone and speak to your loved ones? 

Loneliness and isolation can be caused by several factors. It does not happen overnight but can develop over several weeks and months. 

There are many reasons why someone may become lonely as they age. Some of these may include: 

  • Decreased mobility 
  • Poor health or chronic illness
  • Living alone 
  • Moving away from friends/ family
  • Retiring or leaving work
  • Loss of a loved one

Signs that your loved one might be lonely 

If you think your loved one might be lonely, there are signs you can look out for that may help to identify loneliness and isolation in the elderly.

Key signs to look out for may include:

  • Withdrawing 
  • Change in emotions
  • Loss of interest/motivation 
  • Change to their sleep – difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much 
  • Change in appetite 
  • Physical symptoms – headache, tiredness 

While these signs are just a few, they can indicate that your loved one could be suffering from loneliness or isolation. 

At Red Button, we are passionate about helping break down loneliness barriers for the elderly. Some people may be aware that they are struggling with loneliness, and others may not. You can do some things to help your loved one who may be suffering from loneliness. Some advice from the NHS and AGE UK includes: 

  • Start a conversation – simply taking a few minutes to talk with your loved one, neighbour, or friend can actually make all the difference. Start small.
  • Offer practical help – Offer help with household tasks such as shopping, cooking, dog-walking, or anything else. You may just accompany them. 
  • Being patient – When someone’s lonely, they may get irritable or feel misunderstood by others. You may need to be patient with them and offer them gentle reassurance. 
  • Getting outdoors – being physically active is great for the body and the mind. It can be as simple as a gentle stroll, enjoying a cup of tea in the garden, or having lunch in a local park.
  • Encourage and support – Encourage and support them in making new social connections. This may be through joining a book club or swimming lessons. Plenty of services are available, such as ‘befriend’ from AGE UK. 
  • Use technology to stay connected – Staying connected doesn’t always need to be face-to-face. A weekly video call with a friend, a live online course, or a Zoom yoga class can be a great way to introduce social interaction, particularly where mobility is limited. 

How can telecare personal alarm systems help? 

Loneliness and isolation may lead to your loved one losing their confidence to participate in activities or even go outdoors. It is important to support your loved one while they try to overcome loneliness. One way to help build their confidence and give them and you peace of mind is with a telecare package. Whether it is to get them back ‘out and about’ again, socialising and undertaking everyday tasks, where our Digital watch package would be the perfect companion, or whether it is to simply to give them confidence and security in their own home, where our Digital starter package could be the right choice. It is particularly useful if one of the reasons your loved one is feeling isolated is through reduced mobility. 

Our telecare packages can help you or your loved one to get back out into the world with the reassurance that there will always be help on hand should they ever need it. At the push of a button, your loved one will be in communication with our 24/7 monitoring centre if they need any assistance. 

For more information on our telecare packages, get in touch.

E: hello@redbuttontelecare.co.uk 

T: 0800-0086277

W: https://redbuttontelecare.co.uk/ 



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